Amanda Holden says she “felt like a member of One Direction” filming new Britain’s Got Talent spin-off The Champions at Wembley Arena.
While sister Simon Cowell talent contest The X Factor regularly pitches up at some of the country’s biggest venues, BGT typically sticks to cosier theatres.
However, that’s not the case for new spin-off The Champions – which filmed at Wembley Arena with its biggest ever audience of 6,000 people.
It was a new experience for original judge Amanda, who admits the “incredible scale” of the arena shows shocked her.
“When I walked into Wembley for the first time, it took a moment for it to sink in,” she explained.
“When I saw the hugeness of it I nearly burst into tears, I’m not even joking. I felt really emotional because having been on the show from the very beginning.
“To see it grow into this sensational, epic juggernaut it is now, it’s just amazing.”
The reaction from the crowd soon gave her a taste of life as an A-list popstar.
She added: “I felt like a member of BTS or One Direction walking out on that stage! Everybody just goes nuts.
“There was something special about this show, there was such a warm and fun atmosphere in that room.”
Champions sees fan-favourite former BGT acts return to compete against stars of international Got Talent franchises for ultimate glory.
The concept was first adapted by America’s Got Talent earlier this year, with ten million viewers tuning in.
Amanda – the only judge that has sat through BGT’s entire run – says she saw clips of the US version, but “had not really thought about it happening in the UK”.
When Simon eventually told her they’d be doing a second edition this year, she thought her Lotto numbers had come up.
“I was thrilled when Simon said we were doing this Champions series. It’s like a bonus ball on the lottery!” she laughed.
“You feel like you’ve won the lottery and then the bonus ball comes, it’s like a rollover. So, for me, it was just fantastic.
“Luckily it didn’t clash with the summer holiday I’d booked, so it worked out perfectly that I didn’t have to cancel anything. Another bonus!”
The six-episode series is entirely pre-recorded, meaning there will be no viewer voting.
In each of the five heats, two acts make it to the grand final. An audience vote decides one, while the other receives a Golden Buzzer from either the judges or Ant and Dec.
Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions begins on Saturday at 8.00pm on ITV.